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23 January 2021

OPINION: Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful

Tuesday 5 January 2021 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion


OPINION: Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful

Looking forward to 2021, the Cook Islands could be so much more than we are, because we are smarter than we give ourselves or are given credit for, Ruta Tangiiau Mave writes.

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree, on the second day of Christmas…”.

So it goes for 12 verses of elaborate true love gifting. 

How old were you when you realised the gifting started on Christmas day not before?

Well, it says so right at the beginning, still until very recently, I thought it was like an advent calendar.

When I wondered how long do you keep your tree and decorations up after Christmas, I found out about the song and, the day to dismantle, is in fact, January 6 because that’s the day three wise men, on camels, arrived and delivered their gifts to baby Jesus.

This is the 12 days of Christmas, the things you learn, and philosophically, we learned a lot of ordinary things during the year of 2020. 

Like how to wash our hands, properly, in between the fingers, palms front and back while singing “Happy Birthday”.

How droplets from a sneeze can travel over eight feet, and droplets from plain talking two feet, which became our new social distance.

We also learned our government had money in the bank, and after all the calls for nurses, teachers and police to have wage rises, to no avail, they’re able to give money away, and continue to do so into the new year, to everyone out of work, locals and visitors, who get to twiddle their thumbs and enjoy living on our tropical island.

We learned that tourism is our greatest and only asset for generating income, and after 10 months no one has thought of new ways to generate income except for re-opening borders or destroying the marine environment.

In our bubble, they said we all had to weather the same storm but it was obvious we weren’t all in the same boat, some were on rafts, others surviving on the government life preserver, but quite a few are cruising in super yachts.

Of all the memories of 2020 the Cook Island Games had all the ingredients of a thriving, innovative nation full of competent and hardworking locals who could rally in a very short time and put on a spectacular event of sport, competition and camaraderie unable to be seen anywhere else in the world due to the coronavirus.

If only we could harness this wealth of knowledge and innovation of our people to fruition, we’d be using solar power lighting and heating, we’d be harnessing the reef’s wave power to turn turbines 24/7.

We could take our position on the dateline, where we’re the same day as North, South and Central America but a few hours behind to offer same day services for, say banking.

We could be so much more than we are, and we could do it, because we are smarter than we give ourselves or are given credit for.

The closer we got to the end of December, the more excitement I saw on social media and in conversations that everyone was ready to kick 2020 to the curb and welcome 2021 with open arms.

Like on the stroke of midnight all would change to a world somehow new and free of all that plagued us prior.

We sat after the family fireworks, waiting with great anticipation for a glorious explosive start to the New Revolution around the Sun, and remained in the dark, until a single flare went up, solitary, hanging in the sky glowing ‘help’.

If you thought the world would be different overnight, you were very optimistic or deluded.

We should’ve known life’s not Disney.

When the clock strikes 12, you’re left in rags and you lose your shoe cause you’re drunk.

The Covid war continues to rage in countries outside our borders, the twinkling lights of Christmas carry over into the new year, but it doesn’t erase the realities of life.

Two died at the Rhythm and Vines concert, a family lost their home to fire, another their six-year-old son in a road accident.

We have no tourists, but we have food and shelter, it may not be perfect but life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. Appreciate it.

We have a new leader, Mark Brown a shorts and shirt man, not a suit. 

He’s a new face with a new attitude, perhaps, if he can be open to cutting new edge ideas, and not willing to be the puppet of overseas investors, he may be the hero of our lifetime and if done right the hero of our children’s lifetime.

Time will tell, and the time reality for this will be when Corona is only a beer, Donald is only a duck, tiers 1-4 are for wedding cakes and bubbles are from champagne popped in celebrations.